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Article

Ontogenetic Variation in the Mineral, Phytochemical and Yield Attributes of Brassicaceous Microgreens

1
Department of Vegetable Crops, Agricultural Research Institute, 1516 Nicosia, Cyprus
2
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80055 Portici, Italy
3
Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, 80131 Naples, Italy
4
Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, 80126 Naples, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Dunja Šamec
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1032; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051032
Received: 20 April 2021 / Revised: 6 May 2021 / Accepted: 7 May 2021 / Published: 10 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sprouts and Microgreens: Phytochemicals, Health Benefits and Safety)
Microgreens constitute novel gastronomic ingredients that combine visual, kinesthetic and bioactive qualities. The definition of the optimal developmental stage for harvesting microgreens remains fluid. Their superior phytochemical content against mature leaves underpins the current hypothesis of significant changes in compositional profile during the brief interval of ontogeny from the appearance of the first (S1) to the second true leaf (S2). Microgreens of four brassicaceous genotypes (Komatsuna, Mibuna, Mizuna and Pak Choi) grown under controlled conditions and harvested at S1 and S2 were appraised for fresh and dry yield traits. They were further analyzed for macro- and micromineral content using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), carotenoid content using high-performance liquid chromatography with a diode-array detector (HPLC-DAD), volatile organic compounds using solid-phase microextraction followed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC/MS), anthocyanins and polyphenols using liquid chromatography-high resolution-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) with Orbitrap technology and for chlorophyll and ascorbate concentrations, well as antioxidant capacity by spectrophotometry. Analysis of compositional profiles revealed genotype as the principal source of variation for all constituents. The response of mineral and phytochemical composition and of antioxidant capacity to the growth stage was limited and largely genotype-dependent. It is, therefore, questionable whether delaying harvest from S1 to S2 would significantly improve the bioactive value of microgreens while the cost-benefit analysis for this decision must be genotype-specific. Finally, the lower-yielding genotypes (Mizuna and Pak Choi) registered higher relative increase in fresh yield between S1 and S2, compared to the faster-growing and higher-yielding genotypes. Although the optimal harvest stage for specific genotypes must be determined considering the increase in yield against reduction in crop turnover, harvesting at S2 seems advisable for the lower-yielding genotypes. View Full-Text
Keywords: antioxidants; bioactive value; carotenoids; harvest maturity; isothiocyanates; ontogeny; polyphenols; volatile organic compounds antioxidants; bioactive value; carotenoids; harvest maturity; isothiocyanates; ontogeny; polyphenols; volatile organic compounds
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kyriacou, M.C.; El-Nakhel, C.; Pannico, A.; Graziani, G.; Zarrelli, A.; Soteriou, G.A.; Kyratzis, A.; Antoniou, C.; Pizzolongo, F.; Romano, R.; Ritieni, A.; De Pascale, S.; Rouphael, Y. Ontogenetic Variation in the Mineral, Phytochemical and Yield Attributes of Brassicaceous Microgreens. Foods 2021, 10, 1032. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051032

AMA Style

Kyriacou MC, El-Nakhel C, Pannico A, Graziani G, Zarrelli A, Soteriou GA, Kyratzis A, Antoniou C, Pizzolongo F, Romano R, Ritieni A, De Pascale S, Rouphael Y. Ontogenetic Variation in the Mineral, Phytochemical and Yield Attributes of Brassicaceous Microgreens. Foods. 2021; 10(5):1032. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051032

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kyriacou, Marios C., Christophe El-Nakhel, Antonio Pannico, Giulia Graziani, Armando Zarrelli, Georgios A. Soteriou, Angelos Kyratzis, Chrystalla Antoniou, Fabiana Pizzolongo, Raffaele Romano, Alberto Ritieni, Stefania De Pascale, and Youssef Rouphael. 2021. "Ontogenetic Variation in the Mineral, Phytochemical and Yield Attributes of Brassicaceous Microgreens" Foods 10, no. 5: 1032. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051032

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